Friday, January 20, 2012

Colour, pattern & eye movement

This blog post is all about being able to make colour & pattern work for you to produce a more flattering YOU.

Fashion mantras

In order to get value from this blog post, you need to recall the following three fashion mantras:

1. Dark colours absorb light & make things look smaller; while light colours reflect light & make things look larger

2. If you want to look taller & slimmer, aim for your outfit to cause the viewer's eye to move upwards or up/down.

3. If you want to look fuller & shorter, aim for your outfit to cause the viewer's eye to move horizontally.

Eye movement

The eye moves in various directions due to placement, size and colour of seams, hems, sleeves, baubles, bling, stripes, zippers, buttons, size & scale of patterns - pretty much anything.

I came across some dresses recently which said "put me on the blog about colour & pattern placement. So here we go........

From a boutique in the Sydney CBD, the recent window:

Three similar dresses - but not the same - the placement of patterns and the colours gives a very different impact for each dress & each dress will flatter 3 very different shapes.

From left to right.....

Frock A

The colour above the waist brings the eye upward - always a win.

The large area of white below the waist makes the hip area seem larger. The is good if you have small hips & not so good if you have larger hips.

If you are wearing this, make sure that those sugary pinks & yellows suit your complexion.

Also check whether the "white" is true white or off white/cream. Most people will suit one or the other better - not both equally.

Frock B

The dark area above the waist makes her bust look smaller. Not a good look if you already have a small bust. Good if you have a larger bust, although ideally, large busts benefit more if they have lower scoop necks.

The flowers below the waist, in lighter colours, serve to emhasise the hips in comparison to the top area.

If you have fair skin, navy will be a better colour than black.

Frock C

The concentrated print at the waist brings attention to the waist.
But because the waist area is a darker colour than the rest of the frock, it makes the waist look extra small compared to the bust/hips. I'd say this is a good thing for most girlies!

Since the flowers are spread evenly at both top AND bottom, this dress has the most potential to suit most shapes.

The belt colour tones in with the flowers, so provides definition, but isnt so strong that it causes the eye to move horizontally.......


It really does depend on whether you are bottom heavy, top heavy or evenly proportioned as to which dress is best.

The thing that stood out for me though, was Dress C moved the eye up & down very nicely. The other two dresses tended to move the horizontally.

Stella dress in Myer

Unless you are super skinny & need fattening up, this Stella dress is a disaster as far as eye movement is concerned. The eye moves horizontally with the flowers at the bust, then it hops down and moves horizontally at the hem. Its not even a smooth movement to the hem...its a jump.......Eeeeeewwwww. Who wants a dress where the eye ends up at the hem & makes you look fat? Not me.

Web dress D - unknown designer

This one still has a horizontal seam at the waist, but its more subtle than Stella (no garden at the waist). Plus it has the vertical buttons. So the eye still vertically and downward toward the flower garden. Even if it has a horizontal neckline, its till much better than Stella.

Web dress E - unknown designer

As far as seams go, this is better still, as there are no horizontal its more up & down than dress D and Stella.
However it makes the girl look a tad solid through the waist as the background in that area is white. If they had started the black background a tad higher, it would have slimmed her waist even more and been better.

Web dress F - unknown designer

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways......

a) The black background has started at the waist.

b) The border isnt heavy handed in the horizontal direction & has quite a vertical lift

c) The pleat-y things at the front literally provide a vertical road map better than any GPS.

d) The deep vee neck also moved the eye up & down.

Frock G
- from Portmans in Rouse Hill

It was perfect for this blog post, so I snapped it.

a) Darker background in the middle whittling away the waist Even though a larger pattern normally makes the body look larger, the dark background corrects this perfectly

b) Toning belt to highlight waist but not but the girl in half and break our eye movement

c) Medium size pattern on top & bottom, so as not to make them look larger than life

d) Lighter background on top - great if you have small bust

e) Medium background on bottom - great to minimise large hips

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